By Mike Rush
BRIDGETON, Mo. (KSDK) - There's already a confirmed fire, now fire officials and residents fear there could be another blaze smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill, even closer to radioactive waste.
Judy Francis is concerned. The radioactive waste buried in the nearby landfill is enough to worry about.
"That might bust tomorrow, nobody knows it," she said, referring to the waste.
But to her, the fire and now this hotspot complicate an already confusing situation.
"We get all this talk about this that and something else and nobody seems like they're telling the truth," said Francis.
Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LeVanchy says in recent days he's been getting phone calls from residents worried about what's being done to keep the hot spot on the north side of the Bridgeton Landfill away from the radioactive waste.
It registers at a gas extraction well and it's running hotter than others, 143 degrees at last count. And it's anywhere from 750 to 1000 feet away from the radioactive waste.
"We really feel that the only way to really safeguard our community is to construct a fire break or a barrier wall," he said.
It's one option state environmental officials and the company that owns the landfill have been discussing.
But LeVanchy said, "Having meeting and talking about it doesn't do anything to construct that barrier wall."
He wants a solution to come sooner rather than later.
It's important to note that heat in a landfill does not always mean fire, decomposition generates heat.
Republic Services, the company that owns the landfill, says that area has historically had elevated temperatures that are currently trending down, not up.
The company says data shows there is no chance of fire reaching the radioactive material, stating to argue otherwise is alarmist.
LeVanchy says he's just watching out for his community.